Biden to commemorate Delight Month, identify Pulse Nightclub a nationwide memorial
People hold candles as they attend a one-year anniversary memorial service for the victims of the Pulse gay nightclub mass shootings held at Lake Eola Park in Orlando, Florida on June 12, 2017.
Joe Raedle | Getty Images
President Joe Biden will commemorate Pride Month on Friday at the White House and designate the location of the 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooting as a national memorial, according to an administrator.
Biden will sign a bill on June 12, 2016 in honor of the 49 people killed in a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida after an armed man stormed the venue with an AR-15 assault rifle and pistol.
The bill passed the Senate by vote earlier this month and the House of Representatives passed its own version in May.
The president will also announce the appointment of Jessica Stern, leader of New York human rights group OutRight Action International, as special envoy to the State Department. Stern will help guide U.S. diplomatic efforts to advance the human rights of LGBTQI + people around the world.
Biden will be signing the bill at 1:30 p.m. ET along with survivors of the shooting and the victim’s family members, as well as members of the Florida Congressional Delegation and the Congressional Equality Caucus.
The president will make remarks at 2 p.m. with Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, who became the first openly gay man in the cabinet to break barriers. The president is introduced by 16-year-old transgender advocate Ashton Mota. LGBTQ + advocates, elected state and local officials, and members of Congress will be in attendance.
Biden is also expected to urge the Senate to pass the Equality Act, a landmark bill on LGBTQ + rights that would provide legal protection for LGBTQ + Americans. The bill was passed by the House of Representatives on February 25, but faces an tougher battle in the evenly divided Senate.
He is also expected to denounce the recent proliferation of anti-LGBTQ + laws in several states. According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, 23 states reviewed more than 50 bills targeting transgender youth during the 2021 legislature.
Biden will also outline the steps his government has taken to advocate for equality for LGBTQ + Americans. This includes, among other things, the recognition of Pride Month in a proclamation from 1.
“Pride is both a jubilant joint celebration of visibility and a personal celebration of self-worth and dignity,” Biden said in the June 1 proclamation. “This Pride Month we recognize the valuable contributions of LGBTQ + people across America and reaffirm our commitment to stand in solidarity with LGBTQ + Americans in their ongoing battle against discrimination and injustice.”